A few weeks ago I decided to open up my coaching services for one day only.
The results of this 24-hour period were gut-wrenching … for my clients.
In this round of consulting I noticed a lot of my clients were — like so many online — focusing their content on precisely the wrong thing.
They wanted to make money by helping people — but in the harsh light of day, their websites painted a very different story.
Results from my consulting questionnaire, the domain names used and content on their sites, made it clear that my clients were consistently focusing on one thing … themselves.
Nobody cares about you.
Now let me show you where your focus should be …
The cold hard truth must be faced directly
I softened the advice to my clients by telling them that nobody cares about me either.
At least not until I give my readers something to care about.
A concern many of them had, which does make some logical sense, was that if they didn’t focus their site content around themselves, they wouldn’t be able to build their personal brand effectively.
I threw out an example based on my own experiences of building multiple successful blogs, all of which didn’t include much personal branding in the content.
On ViperChill, for instance, around 400 people per month land there by searching for variations on my name, Glen Allsopp. I say variations, because a lot of people like to call me Glenn, but that’s a rant for another day.
My full name is only found in one place on that site.
It does not appear in my posts, it’s not in my comments, and it’s not in the sidebar. It doesn’t actually appear on any static page on my site. I may have mentioned it a couple of times, but it’s hidden in the post content.
As a matter of fact, the most common instances of my full name are on other websites in things like interviews, guest posts, and reviews of products I’ve created.
The only reason I get interviewed and attract people who want to promote my products, is because people like what I have to say in the first place. They trust me. They know I can help them with their problems. Then they want to know more about me.
Your readers care about themselves first and foremost, not about you.
They only start to care about you when you give them value that they keep coming back for. In time, they become curious about who is behind all that amazing value, and that’s how you start to build your personal brand.
Since you want to build your personal brand, but attract readers at the same time, there are two things I strongly recommend that you do …
Be personal (but not too personal)
There are literally more than 100 million active blogs out there, so it’s not that easy to get noticed and in turn create a lasting connection with your audience.
As a lot of blogging advice will rightly tell you, being personal in your posts and activity online is one of the best ways for your readers to learn more about you, and engage in the content you’re consistently putting out there.
It’s no coincidence that I know quite a bit about some of the biggest content creators online.
I know that Brian has been an attorney, a real estate broker, and an ezine marketer back in the day.
I know that Darren Rowse (I don’t even have to tell you his website, another case in point) lives in Australia with his wife V.
I know that Sonia has a young son and rocks an awesome pink hairdo.
I don’t know these things because they go on and on about them. I know them because I love the content that they write, and in time, through a series of articles I follow, get to know a little more about each of them.
Being hooked on the value they consistently provide to me is the only reason I have come to learn more about each of them.
Put the focus back on your reader
I’ve done a lot of split-testing lately, and have an example which proves my point even further.
I set-up a squeeze page which promoted a free eBook I’ve created, and varied a number of headlines. Two of them being:
- Discover How This Very Blog Gained over 10,000 Subscribers In Just 12 Months
- Discover How You Can Grow Your Blog to Over 10,000 Subscribers in Just 12 Months
Can you guess which one resulted in the most conversions?
The second headline outperformed the first by a huge margin. The reason being that the first headline put the emphasis on me, and the second put the emphasis on the reader.
The only reason people read any blog is because of the value that they get from it
If Brian and Sonia started putting out content here which mostly focused on their personal lives, I’m sure they would quickly find their audience engagement levels decreasing.
It’s the Copyblogger core philosophy of creating content that benefits readers … week-in and week-out … that keeps the subscriber numbers growing.
Don’t automatically assume that you need to talk about yourself all day and plaster your site with personal interests and ongoings in order to build up your brand.
From my own experience, and with examples taken from some of the biggest blogs online, being personal — but subtle about it — is usually a far better route to take.